TITLE: Boules Bride Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Greece
SUBREGION: Naoussa, Paros
ETHNICITY: Hellenic
DESCRIPTION: Boulas (Bride) Mask
MAKER: Alexandros Karydas (Naoussa, 1985- )
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: 2020
MAIN MATERIAL: beeswax
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; cotton cloth; polyester cloth and ribbons; synthetic flowers; cotton stitching

The origin of the Boules (Brides) Festival in the town of Naoussa, in Paros, Greece, is obscured by history.  It probably has its origins in ancient Dionysian celebrations of fertility during the spring (Anthestiria). The modern festival is held during Carnival, but its origin was the Turkish occupation of Naoussa.  The Ottoman Empire controlled much of Greece from 1537 until 1829.  According to legend, in 1705, the Turks renounced the principle of peaceful coexistence and Turkish soldiers came to the village of Naoussa to recruit forcibly children for their Christian military unit. Those families that resisted were slaughtered.  The following year, around Carnival time, the villagers of Naoussa put on masks and costumes, and paraded in tribute to the dead. To deceive the Turks, the ritual was framed as a wedding, but in reality the bride was a masked man, and the wedding feast was really a means to surreptitiously collect money and food for rebels living in the mountains.

Today, the tradition is still rigorously followed, with masked brides and “janissaries” (Greek soldiers fighting for the Turks) performing specific dances. Only unmarried young males are allowed to masquerade, and all wear the same costume.  In the case of the bride, she wears a black, embroidered skirt, and dark long-sleeved blouse, and a wedding veil. They parade through the town to the music of traditional bands, until they reach the City Hall, and the leader of the boulouki asks permission from the Mayor to begin the ceremony. They then go to the main square, where the dancing begins. After the dances, the boules go from house to house collecting donations.

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TITLE: Basler Carnival Half Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Basel
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Carnival Half-Mask for Fife Player
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Fasnacht (Carnival)
AGE: 1990s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; elastic band; hardware; dyed cotton cap

Fasnacht is what the Tyrolean Swiss call Carnival.  In many towns in Austria, southern Germany, Switzerland, and northern Italy, local folk don elaborate masks and costumes to parade through the town.  Different towns have variations on the parade, such as the Schemenlaufen of Imst, the Schellerlaufen of Nassereith, and the Muller and Matschgerer of Innsbruck, Austria.

In Basel, Switzerland, masks are almost all made of paper maché and take a helmet form. Armies of costumed clowns, musicians, and dancers, called cliques, parade around town in uniform mask styles for 72 nearly continuous hours on the Monday following Ash Wednesday. The paraders must wear their Larven (masks) throughout the parade and are expected never to remove the mask in order to identify themselves.  They throw confetti at crowd members with such proliferation that it blankets the streets.

Although there is a great deal of innovation and creativity in mask styles, there are certain styles that tend to reappear annually. This mask, known as Waggis, represents a big-nosed, frizzy-haired clown, who wears wooden clogs, a blue shirt, and a red neckerchief. He is a prankster who parodies the Alsatian farmers who formerly came to Basel market days to sell their produce (Waggis literally means a person from Alsace in Basel dialect). Other common characters include the Alti Dante (old aunt), Dummbeeter (trumpetist) and Pierrot (a sad clown from the late Italian Commedia dell’Arte, known for his white and black makeup).

This specific mask was made for and used by a fife player in one of the roaming bands. Half masks are common among wind instrument musicians who need to access their instruments with their mouths.

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TITLE: Waggis Carnival Mask
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Basel
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Waggis (Alsation) Carnival Helmet Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Fasnacht (Carnival)
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; plastic hair; wool hat

Fasnacht is what the Tyrolean Swiss call Carnival.  In many towns in Austria, southern Germany, Switzerland, and northern Italy, local folk don elaborate masks and costumes to parade through the town.  Different towns have variations on the parade, such as the Schemenlaufen of Imst, the Schellerlaufen of Nassereith, and the Muller and Matschgerer of Innsbruck, Austria.

In Basel, Switzerland, masks are almost all made of paper maché and take a helmet form. Armies of costumed clowns, musicians, and dancers, called cliques, parade around town in uniform mask styles for 72 nearly continuous hours on the Monday following Ash Wednesday. The paraders must wear their Larven (masks) throughout the parade and are expected never to remove the mask in order to identify themselves.  They throw confetti at crowd members with such proliferation that it blankets the streets.

Although there is a great deal of innovation and creativity in mask styles, there are certain styles that tend to reappear annually. This mask, known as Waggis, represents a big-nosed, frizzy-haired clown, who wears wooden clogs, a blue shirt, and a red neckerchief. He is a prankster who parodies the Alsatian farmers who formerly came to Basel market days to sell their produce (Waggis literally means a person from Alsace in Basel dialect). Other common characters include the Alti Dante (old aunt), Dummbeeter (trumpetist) and Pierrot (a sad clown from the late Italian Commedia dell’Arte, known for his white and black makeup).

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TITLE: Scheller Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Austria
SUBREGION: Tyrol
ETHNICITY: Tyrolean
DESCRIPTION: Scheller Mask
MAKER: Unknown maker in Imst
CEREMONY: Fasnacht (Carnival) – Schemenlaufen
AGE: ca. 1890
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The Carnival in the Tyrolean region of Austria is called Fasnacht. In the town of Imst, a ritual known as Schemenlaufen is held every four years, usually on the Sunday before Nonsensical Thursday. Only men traditionally participate, and the celebration involves an elaborate series of events beginning with men carted around town in bear costumes and beaten by masked trainers to the tune of flutes and tambourines. They are followed by series of masked paraders of various defined types, such as the Kübelmaje (bucket girl), Gschnapp (witch), and heavily bearded Laggeroller. The two main characters, however, are the Scooter and the Scheller. The Scooter wears a smooth mask with pursed lips, a Tyrolean costume, a belt of small sleigh bells (Gröll), and an and an elaborate headdress looking like a decorated Christmas tree. The Scheller, represented by this mask, has an oversized mustache, and wears a costume and headdress similar to the Scooter‘s, but his belt has large cowbells (Gschall). In addition, the Scooter carries a large horsehair whisk on a long stick, while the Scheller carries a long stick. During the parade, they dance together, with the Scooter hopping up and down, and the Scheller calmly jingling his Gschall.

Unfortunately, the best book on Austrian masking traditions is available in German only: Albert Bärtsch, Holzmasken: Fasnachts- und Maskenbrauchtum in der Schweiz, in Süddeutschland und Österreich (AT Verlag 1993).

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TITLE: Capra Mask
TYPE: hood mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Romania
ETHNICITY: Romanian-Moldovan
DESCRIPTION: Bătrânul (Old Man) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Capra (Goat Dance)
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: wool
OTHER MATERIALS: dyed cotton cloth; goat leather and hair; cotton batting; dyed cotton tassels; stitching; plastic buttons

The capra, or goat dance, is performed in parts of rural Romania on New Year’s Eve as part of a caroling tradition. In pre-Christian times, the ritual was probably intended to drive away winter spirits and purify the village. In the dance, masqueraders in bătrânul (old man) masks and costumes and large bells dance to the music of traditional pipes with either a living goat or a masquerader dressed as one.

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TITLE: Vellarón Mask & Costume
TYPE: helmet mask; costume; accessory
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Galicia
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Vellarón (Old Man) Mask and Costume with Zamarra (Whip)
MAKER (MASK): Adelino Martínez (Riós, 1964- )
MAKER (COSTUME): Jaime Pérez Rodríguez (Riós, d.o.b. unknown)
CEREMONY: Entroido (Carnival)
AGE: 2010
MAIN MATERIAL (MASK): cardboard
OTHER MATERIALS (MASK): paper maché; paper; metal wire; synthetic ribbons; polyester beard; adhesive; paint
COSTUME MATERIALS: polyester cloth and ribbons; leather belt; brass bells; brass hardware; synthetic leather leggings
ACCESSORY MATERIALS: wood; paint; leather straps; cotton wadding; burlap; metal hardware

The Entroido (Carnival) of Spain’s Galicia province has a tremendous diversity of celebration styles that vary from town to town. In the region of Riós, the celebration begins with a parade of brightly dressed vellaróns, who travel around towns such as Castrelo de Cima and neighboring villages, requesting food or money for the Carnival feast. They may accompany other characters, such as A Madama, an elegant lady, O Farrangón, a man in old rags, or even costumed dogs.

The vellarón mask and costume are ancient in origin, but they were lost around 1977, only to be recovered in 2007 and restored to use. In the Galician dialect, a vellarón is an old man, as the mask and costume suggest.

This mask and costume were graciously donated to the Museum by the Township of Riós in 2018.

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TITLE: Boteiro
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Galicia
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Boteiro Mask with Pantalla
MAKER: Javier Martínez González, Santa Mariña de Froxais, Viana do Bolo (1983- )
CEREMONY: Entroido (Carnival)
AGE: 2008
MAIN MATERIAL: hardwood (mask); iron rods (pantalla)
OTHER MATERIALS: lacquer; red deer antlers; cardboard; dyed paper; leather straps; hardware; foam rubber padding; adhesive; dyed satin ribbons

The Entroido (Carnival) of Spain’s Galicia province has a tremendous diversity of celebration styles that vary from town to town. In the region of Viana do Bolo, the celebration begins with a parade of folións, marching bands playing primarily the bombo drum and other percussion. The folións are surrounded by boteiros, masqueraders with colorful costumes and poles, who charge through the crowd to make way for the musicians and vault high on their poles in a display of athletic skills. Each village around Viana do Bolo contributes a team of musicians and masqueraders, and most villages have their own unique style of mask.

In Santa Mariña de Froxais, whence this mask comes, the boteiros typically wear handmade wooden masks, lacquered but otherwise left their natural color, and a very large superstructure (pantalla) attached to the top of the mask made of heavy iron, covered with cardboard and colorful paper. The masks may weigh as much as 30 pounds (14 kg). The ability to run, jump, and vault while wearing the mask demonstrates the masquerader’s strength and athletic prowess.

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TITLE: Jarramplas Mask
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Extremadura
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Jarramplas Mask
MAKER: Marcos Calle Vicente, Piornal (1972- )
CEREMONY: Fiesta de San Sebastián
AGE: 2002
MAIN MATERIAL: fiberglass
OTHER MATERIALS: metal hardware; steel mesh; oil-based paint; horsehair; fiberboard; foam rubber; adhesive

Jarramplas is an annual festival held primarily in the mountain town of Piornal in Extremadura, Spain, during the Festival of St. Sebastian (January 19 & 20). The tradition begins with a man dressed as a devil in heavy armor playing a small drum while running along the town streets. Inhabitants of the town chase him until they corner him, surround him, and continually pelt him with large, heavy turnips. Meanwhile, he continues to play the drum until midnight, being pelted viciously all the while. The Festival ends with a High Mass and an invitation to the celebrated Jarramplas to come to eat migas (a dish made of bread crumbs, pork ribs or sausage, spinach, and seasonings) at the local prefect’s house.

The origins of this ancient are contested. Some believe the Jarramplas represents a cattle thief getting his due but ultimately reforming at the hands of the religious authorities. Others think he represents St. Sebastian himself, who was reputedly shot full of arrows, for which the turnips are symbolic.

Because the turnips are sizable and thrown vigorously, the Jarramplas has always worn an armored costume. Originally, masks were made of wood, but for many years they have been constructed from hard fiberglass and fiberboard, and padded internally with foam rubber. The helmet is physically fitted to the armored suit, composed of iron rods and fiberglass, and covered with multicolored rags. There are usually only one or two dedicated Jarramplas masqueraders during each festival.

This mask was graciously donated to the Museum by the maker, Marcos Calle Vicente, and the Township of Piornal, with special thanks to Ms. Clara Calle.

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TITLE: Careto
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Portugal
SUBREGION: Bragança
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Careto
MAKER: António Alves (Varges, Bragança, 1949- )
CEREMONY: Entrudo (Carnival)
AGE: 2016
MAIN MATERIAL: plant fiber (escrinho)
OTHER MATERIALS: N/A

In Bragança, Portugal, Carnival (frequently called Entrudo) masks may be composed of a wide variety of materials, most commonly metal, leather, wood, cork, or, as here, escrinho (woven straw). Such masks typically have devilish features, representing the freedom enjoyed by the celebrant that would be considered sinful, or at least socially unacceptable, at other times of the year. Carnival is the Shrovetide season of maximal social freedom prior to the Catholic fasting season of Lent. In Catholic countries such as Portugal, parties, parades, feasting, and cultural events are commonly organized during the Carnival season, primarily on “Fat Sunday” and “Fat Tuesday.”

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TITLE: Careto
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Portugal
SUBREGION: Bragança
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Careto
MAKER: António Alves (Varges, Bragança, 1949- )
CEREMONY: Entrudo (Carnival)
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: cork bark
OTHER MATERIALS: adhesive; lacquer; vegetable fibers

In Bragança, Portugal, Carnival (frequently called Entrudo) masks may be composed of a wide variety of materials, most commonly metal, leather, wood, cork, or escrinho (woven straw). Such masks typically have devilish features, representing the freedom enjoyed by the celebrant that would be considered sinful, or at least socially unacceptable, at other times of the year. Carnival is the Shrovetide season of maximal social freedom prior to the Catholic fasting season of Lent. In Catholic countries such as Portugal, parties, parades, feasting, and cultural events are commonly organized during the Carnival season, primarily on “Fat Sunday” and “Fat Tuesday.”

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